The BBC revealed last Sunday that Jodie Whittaker has been cast as the 13th Doctor. Whittaker is well known for her role in Broadchurch, Attack the block and St. Trinians. She will succeed Peter Capaldi who is due to leave in this year’s Christmas special and becomes the first woman to take on the role in the show’s history.
The big reveal was met with a social media frenzy, over half a million people reacting on twitter within the first 24 hours. The reaction from fans was a mix of excitement and criticism, though mostly positive some took to Facebook and twitter to express their anger over the decision. There were calls to boycott the show and some going so far as to send official complaints to the BBC saying that it was ‘bowing to political correctness’.
Many fans retaliated by pointing out that the foundation of Doctor Who is a 1200 year old alien adventuring in time and space in a police box, who changes his appearance, age, accent and personality on a regular basis and if that can be accepted then why not gender?
In a show that spans over fifty years of history we have of course seen gender roles change and progress in the way they are portrayed on screen. The female characters in Doctor Who have come a long way from the leather bikini clad damsel in distress, thankfully change is a constant and pivotal part of the show.
Doctor Who is also a family show that has a high proportion of younger viewers and representation is important, particularly for young girls who can now be the time-traveller, the adventurer, the hero. My teenage and now adult daydreams of being cast as the Doctor’s assistant (I’m not an actress, I have unrealistic fantasy daydreams) have been blown out of the water. What if I could be the next Doctor!? As a 26 year old (sometimes) adult woman I can only imagine what this will mean to the millions of little girls soon to be wielding their own sonic screwdrivers in the playground. That’s fantastic!
Regardless of personal opinion over the casting choice, Jodie Whittaker is now the Doctor and I’m sure most fans of the show will be awaiting this years special with tremendous excitement to see what she will bring to the role.
Jodie summed up her own excitement in a recent interview;
“It feels completely overwhelming, as a feminist, as a woman, as an actor, as a human, as someone who wants to continually push themselves and challenge themselves, and not be boxed in by what you’re told you can and can’t be. It feels incredible.”
Images are copyright BBC